What is Mandelic Acid

Shopping for skincare products can be overwhelming because of the variety of ingredients and brands to choose from. However, there is one ingredient that has taken the skincare world by storm! Let’s talk, mandelic acid (MA). For many of its users, it has become a holy grail in their daily routine. Its gentle exfoliating powers can help to clear up a slew of tricky skin concerns like acne, folliculitis, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, keratosis pilaris, and ingrown hairs. Let’s look at what makes mandelic acid so magical and a must-have in your skincare cabinet. 

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds. It is uniquely effective because it is gentle enough to apply twice daily without excessive irritation. Other skincare acids can be very irritating to the skin and so they have to be applied more sparingly. In contrast, when ME is applied twice daily, it can continuously clear the skin of the excess oil and dead skin cells that clog pores while also fighting off the varieties of bacteria and fungus that cause breakouts.

MA compared to Other Acids

It’s time for a quick science lesson to better understand why many people prefer mandelic acid in comparison to the other skincare acids. The most common acids are glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, and these are the main ingredients in over-the-counter acne-clearing products. Glycolic and lactic are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and salicylic is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). 

AHAs are water-soluble, which results in more surface-level benefits to the skin like improving texture, blackheads, and whiteheads. BHAs are oil soluble, allowing them to penetrate deeper into pores, decongesting the skin from within. 

So, where does mandelic acid fall on this scale? Amazingly, it has properties of both AHAs and BHAs! As mentioned, MA is an AHA and is thus water soluble, but its molecular size is larger than glycolic and lactic. This slows down its activities and makes it more suitable for individuals with sensitive skin. It also acts similarly to BHAs because it has a non-polar carbon ring that gives it oil-soluble characteristics like salicylic acid, allowing it to penetrate the skin and promote cellular turnover. MA is the only acid that’s both water and oil soluble, so it can improve your skin on multiple levels! 

History of the Holy Grail Ingredient

Gentle Mandelic Acid Exfoliation for Sensitive Skin – Advanced Skin  Therapeutics

To appreciate the power of mandelic Acid, let’s journey back in time to its historical origins. Since the early 1800s, bitter almonds have been used for their medicinal properties through careful processing methods. 

According to a news series Pharmaceutical Roots from LGC Mikromol, mandelic acid was originally extracted from bitter almonds by a German pharmacist named Fedinand Winckler in 1831. The name “mandelic acid” derives from the German word mandel, meaning almond. This discovery led to the understanding of the chemical composition of almonds and its potential applications and uses. 

The acid has been used by the medical community for its antibacterial properties. It was commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and as an oral antibiotic. Its ability to fight bacteria made it a valuable component in early formulations of medical products.

Over time, mandelic acid gained popularity in the field of skincare. Dr. James Fulton, a pioneering dermatologist and researcher, was largely responsible for MA's increasing popularity in the 2000s. 

Skin Care Benefits

Mandelic acid has a variety of naturally occurring properties that help to clear the skin. It is keratolytic, anti-inflammatory and very importantly, it has both antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it a powerhouse in delivering skincare benefits.

MA’s ability to gently exfoliate the skin makes it suitable for daily use, resulting in skin cell turnover without harshness or irritation. By gently dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, it reveals a brighter and smoother complexion without damaging your skin barrier. 

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Consistency is key,” and this holds especially true for achieving your skincare goals. Regular use of MA can prevent unwelcome breakouts.

For those with sensitive skin, this AHA makes it possible to treat your skin concerns regularly without compromising comfort. 

Treatable Concerns

Mandelic Acid Before and After %u2013 Almond Clear


  • Mandelic acid’s properties fight the bacteria inside pimples that cause them to get red and inflamed.
  • It loosens blackheads so that they can be easily extracted. 
  • MA also dissolves trapped oil and dirt, cleaning and shrinking visible clogged pores.
  • MA’s naturally occurring anti-inflammatory properties help to calm red, inflamed blemishes


  • MA clears the microbes that cause folliculitis (both fungi and bacteria)
  • It exfoliates the skin and unclogs blocked follicles
  • MA’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and inflammation

Hyperpigmentation/ Acne scars

  • Consistent use of MA gently encourages the shedding of pigmented, uneven skin cells, unveiling fresher layers of skin beneath.
  • MA has been shown to inhibit the production of melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) so the hyperpigmentation process is interrupted.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

  • MA stimulates the skin to naturally produce collagen and elastin. These essential proteins are responsible for the firmness and plump appearance of the skin. 
  • With consistent use of MA, skin becomes smoother and fine lines appear less obvious
  • The gentle exfoliation from this ingredient reveals more youthful, glowing skin

Ingrown Hairs 

  • Buried hairs come to the surface after the top layer of skin is gently exfoliated.
  • Anti-inflammatory qualities of MA help to reduce swelling and redness from ingrown hairs.
  • MA’s antibacterial properties can help to calm infection.

Almond Clear : A Trailblazer in Mandelic Acid use

Expert Tips for Achieving Clear, Smooth, and Radiant Skin with Almond  Clear's Mandelic Acid Products. — Folliculitis Scout

Did you know that Almond Clear is the first brand that is 100% powered by mandelic acid? MA is the key ingredient in our entire product line that has become a staple in many people’s skincare routine. The brand was inspired by the founder, Leslie Eisen’s, personal experience with the game-changing acid. Leslie fought acne and folliculitis breakouts for almost 20 years. After trying a plethora of different skincare products and spending thousands of dollars on prescriptions and dermatology appointments, she started to use the ingredients in Almond Clear products. Her amazing results rebuilt her confidence and inspired her to share this with the world. Thus, Almond Clear was born. 

Our mission is to bring people freedom and confidence. If you’ve ever struggled with acne or folliculitis, then you know how self-conscious it can make you about your skin. Our goal is to help you achieve your skin goals in a safe and effective way.

You also deserve to feel good about the products you are using. Almond Clear provides clean and sustainable skin-care products because one of our biggest values is taking care of the environment and minimizing waste.

Our customers have raved about the impact that mandelic acid has had in their lives. Our product line has something for both your face and body skin concerns. We offer a face and body wash, a hydrating gel, exfoliating serums, and pads to help you in your journey to healthier skin. Not sure, which products may work best for you? No worries! We created a quiz to help guide you.

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